[Baltimore Sun] Jackson Holliday is looking for his first hit. Here’s how other Orioles top prospects got theirs.

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There’s a little something extra for fans who go to Camden Yards (and tune in on Apple TV+) for Orioles top prospect Jackson Holliday’s home debut Friday night — the chance to see history.

After being called up Wednesday to make his major league debut during the club’s road trip in Boston, Holliday went 0-for-8 in two games as Baltimore completed a sweep of its American League East rivals. The 20-year-old second baseman did record his first RBI at Fenway Park, but his first hit — the one he and his family will remember forever — is yet to come.

If recent history is any guide, Holliday’s breakthrough moment could be a memorable one. Here’s a look back at how some of the Orioles’ previous top prospects recorded their first major league hit:

Matt Wieters (2009)

More than a decade before Holliday, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, Wieters represented hope for the future in Baltimore.

Drafted fifth overall by the Orioles in 2007, the Georgia Tech catcher became Baseball America’s No. 1 overall prospect before making his major league debut May 29, 2009. Like Holliday, he went 0-for-4 in his first game, but his first hit was a memorable one.

The following night, Wieters hit a triple to center field against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to lead off the fifth inning and came around to score on a single by Nolan Reimold. The 23-year-old catcher ended his rookie year slashing .288/.340/.412 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs as the Orioles went 64-98 and finished last in the American League East, but he would quickly become a core piece of a winning team the city so desperately craved.

The Orioles’ Manny Machado takes batting practice during spring training Feb. 29, 2012. (Karl Merton Ferron/Staff)

Manny Machado (2012)

When Machado was called up on Aug. 9, 2012, the Orioles were 60-52 and 5 1/2 games back of first place in the AL East. There was hope, finally, that the club was going to end its streak of 14 straight losing seasons.

The Orioles lost Machado’s debut, but the 20-year-old third baseman provided an immediate spark. In his second big league at-bat, he lined a ball into the right-center field gap for a triple against Kansas City Royals rookie left-hander Will Smith. Machado then scored his first run on a sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis.

Machado, the 2010 third overall pick, finished his debut season batting .262/.294/.445 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs as the Orioles went 93-69 to reach the postseason for the first time since 1997. They lost in five games to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series, but it marked the start of Machado’s All-Star career and a five-year run of success under manager Buck Showalter.

Adley Rutschman (2022)

The Orioles’ 2018 midseason trade of Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers marked the beginning of a painful rebuild. Rutschman, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick after a franchise-worst 115-loss season, arrived as the signal of a new era.

After a standout college career, the Oregon State catcher was heralded as a transformative player on both sides of the plate. He quickly proved himself worthy of that billing, becoming Baseball America’s top-ranked prospect. On May 21, 2022, with the Orioles off to a 16-25 start, Baltimore called up the 24-year-old Rutschman, kick-starting a dramatic turnaround that nearly resulted in a stunning playoff berth.

In his first game, like the club’s two heralded prospects before him, Rutschman tripled, hitting a drive down the right-field line against Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. The Orioles lost, 6-1, but the season was far from over.

After a 10-game winning streak to begin July, they were suddenly 45-44. Then they went 17-10 in August. Although Baltimore came up just short, finishing as the best team in the AL to not reach the playoffs at 83-69, it delivered a historic 31-win improvement over the previous season.

Rutschman batted .254/.362/.445 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs and finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. A year later, the Orioles became AL East champions.

Ron Schwane/AP

The Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson watches his solo home run off Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie for his first hit in his major league debut Aug. 31, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Gunnar Henderson (2022)

On draft night in 2019, Henderson was mostly an afterthought. The Orioles picked him 42nd overall at the beginning of the second round, but all the attention was on Rutschman.

It wasn’t long before Henderson made a name for himself.

Fresh out of high school in Selma, Alabama, he tore through the minor leagues and followed Rutschman as Baseball America’s top-ranked prospect. On Aug. 31, 2022, just more than three months after Rutschman got the call, the 21-year-old infielder made his major league debut.

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With the Orioles fighting for a playoff spot late in the season, Henderson didn’t waste any time getting settled in. In his second at-bat of a scoreless game against Cleveland, he drove a 2-2 pitch from right-hander Triston McKenzie over the right-field wall for his first major league home run to give the Orioles the lead in an eventual 4-0 win. His helmet flew off on the swing and he jogged the bases without it, much to the delight of his teammates. And who was first to greet him in the dugout? Rutschman, of course.

In just 34 games that season, it was clear what kind of potential Henderson had. The next year, he slashed .255/.325/.489 with 28 home runs and 89 RBIs, earning AL Rookie of the Year honors and a Silver Slugger Award.

Other notable first hits

Cal Ripken Jr. (1981): Before he became a Hall of Famer and the legendary “Iron Man,” Ripken just needed a hit. The 1978 second-round pick out of Aberdeen High School started his career 0-for-3, appearing mostly as a pinch runner, before recording a base hit against Chicago White Sox reliever Dennis Lamp in the third inning of an 8-7 loss Aug. 16.

Jonathan Schoop (2013): Signed out of Curacao, Schoop delivered a memorable major league debut as a 21-year-old second baseman. On Sept. 25, he singled off Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Esmil Rogers in his first career at-bat. In the sixth inning, he launched a solo home run to center against reliever Kyle Drabek, helping the Orioles secure a 9-5 win.

Austin Hays (2017): After a late-September call-up, Hays began his career 0-for-7 before enjoying a breakout performance. In his seventh game Sept. 16, he singled off Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery in the third inning for his first career hit and then blasted a two-run shot off reliever Chasen Shreve in the ninth for his first homer.

Jordan Westburg (2023): Like Holliday, Westburg recorded his first RBI before his first hit on a bases-loaded groundout in the third inning of his debut on June 26 against the Cincinnati Reds. In the fifth, the 2020 first-round pick singled off right-hander Eduardo Salazar with a bloop to left field.

Colton Cowser (2023): Cowser, the No. 5 overall pick in 2021, was called up just a few weeks after Westburg as the Orioles continued to stock their roster with young talent. On July 5, with Baltimore trailing 2-0 against the Yankees in the seventh inning, Cowser singled to right field off right-hander Nick Ramirez to score the Orioles’ first run in a 6-3 comeback victory.

Heston Kjerstad (2023): After being drafted No. 2 overall in 2020, Kjerstad took a winding road to the big leagues. Soon after the draft, he was diagnosed with myocarditis (heart inflammation) and did not join a Baltimore affiliate until 2022. He spent nearly two full seasons in the minors before joining the Orioles on Sept. 14, striking out as a pinch-hitter in a 4-3 loss to the Rays. The following night, he got the packed home crowd buzzing, blasting a solo homer off right-hander Zach Eflin for his first hit — and the Orioles’ first of the night.

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